Drug-resistant bacteria are such a problem that even the scientists working on the issue call it an arms race that we are not winning. So if a project in Colorado is right and tiny particles of semiconductor material can drop the bugs in their tracks, it could be real progress. And when the bugs adapt, as they will, the remedy can be tweaked to keep up. For I asked the team just how effective the treatment might be, and what else it might reveal about the complex stuff going on inside cells.

If you’re in San Francisco, the in-house magazine at the Photonics West conference contains some stories by me, including a look at where the US moonshot into neuroscience known as the BRAIN Initiative has got to these days, and why the insides of the average DVD player could help to knock a few zeroes off the cost of a clinical tomography system and put it into your phone.


February 18, 2016